Trailblazer Ideas #2 and #3: Eliminate/redesign the Individual Training Action Plan (ITAP)
At the regional field sessions this summer in Denver, Kansas City, and D.C., HUD employees submitted and voted on ideas on which rules or reports should be streamlined or eliminated. This idea was actually one of the top 3 ideas in both Denver and D.C.
This idea was merged with the idea, "Get rid of the IDP. Nobody ever looks at them or uses them for anything. They don't get one traing"
Description: The IDP is a totally useless piece of paper. Nobody ever looks at them. I have never seen anyone get training because of one. Some HQ people have the idea they are useful, because they have no idea how things actually work. Change to a broad goal system, SOFTWARE BASED, and let employees document their training there. In fact, find a college to partner with, maybe even a place like Excelsior, along the lines of what the Air Force does, so that all training is recorded in one place, and that those employees who want to can pursue a college degree with the kind of help the Air Force offers. I suggest you have a customer-driven website, where veteran employees note what training and experience is most useful to learn a job, so that newbies have that benefit.
This idea is being put into action! In the February 22nd town hall meeting, its was announced that there is a moratorium on the Individual Training Action Plan (ITAP) in FY 2011 while the OCHCO upgrades and migrates to an automated Individual Development Plan (IDP) tool. The automated IDP tool will be integrated with the Learning Management System/HUD Virtual University (HVU).
To capture all career development activities and training needs in the interim, the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) strongly recommends the use of the existing Individual Development Plan (IDP) guidelines to assist with development planning.
Once the automated system is up an running, the ITAP/IDP process will be paperless and streamlined.
I agree that training is important but 4 hours a week is too much. I think we should focus on making sure employees are receiving training that they need and that is effective. If we just say, "Do X hours of training a week," this doesn't guarantee that employees are getting the training they need.
Current changes to the IDP/ITAP basically mean filling out even more pieces of paper, but no significant training. So instead of just wounding employees, we now wound them, and rub salt in the wounds. In a HUD that was serious, 10% minimum of staff time would be spent in training. That means at least 4 hours per week, of real, substantive training. It could mean very experienced HUD staff, with good public speaking skills, demonstrating how to refer a bad audit to RIGA, based on 4370.1, for example- uploaded to an internal equivalent of YouTube, so people can watch it any time. It could mean having HUD staff at relevant conferences, videoing relevant presentations, and putting them up on HUDTube. It could mean spending 5 days per week, an hour per day, learning Spanish. It could mean taking courses on personal time- and doing homework on HUD time. It could mean a whole bunch of things. The recent changes to the system basically mean the tiny amount of training staff get will now be reported, subtracting even more time for useless bean counting. And what fool decided this reporting should be on paper? Or even in Word? Where is the central database of this information, so that the info can be loaded directly? It's not 1993, we should not be using paper reports. A central database could even allow for multi-year goals- I know that's difficult for HQ people to understand, but some things take more than a year- and even for staff to see the track taken by others, towards a particular goal. A lot of HUD reports would be very useful in the aggregate- but HUD insists on doing things the paper way, which means the data is only useful for that one reporting entity, and is disposed of due to shrinking file space for paper reports. HUD should be a test case of healthy, learning community- the fact that HUD is in last place among 24 agencies says something. How can you create health for others out of inner dysfunction? HUD should be fostering entrepreneurial enterprises in every single family property. Many elderly residents also want ways to make money. Is there any data, anywhere in any of HUD's systems, to help these people? No. There's a little PD&R fluff, but nothing anyone can take and implement immediately, and I include Neighborhood Networks- they talk about economic development, but don't really know how to do it. This IDP/ITAP thing should be the engine driving the complete improvement of first the department, and then the communities the Department serves. Instead, it's just another bean-counting exercise.
Is the problem really the IDP and the ITAP or the fact that supervisors do not feel they are given the training, resources, and encouragement necessary to properly use these tools? Or does this entire system need to be strapped? I'm a new employee so I haven't gone through the process yet and am really curious as to how the IDP and ITAP are suppose to work versus what really happens and, most importantly, where the disconnect between those two occurs.
Janice Ayi commented
Great ideal, negotiate a partnership with Excelsior College to afford HUD Employees an opportunity to attend at a discounted rate. Education is one of the key building blocks towards transformation.
First, allow first level supervisors to approve training under 3K. Most of the time this training is on the IDP but second and third line supervisors will not approve. The first line supervisor should know what skill gap the employee needs that is on the IDP. Second, if the IDP will continues, make it a mandatory decision requirement between the first line supervisor and the employee. All parties should be in agreement with the selected training and if training funds are available; the employees that have listed the training on the IDP gets the opportunity.
Here are some informal, creative and low-cost ways to honor star producers, that we'll never see in HUD:
Show them that they have earned your trust by loosening the reins and giving them work-at-home and alternative work schedule options. If appropriate, give them more discretion and less day-to-day supervision.
- Thank them for their contributions in public forums, such as staff meetings, and explain to attendees what was special about their work.
- Invite them to serve in acting positions that would give them more responsibility, broaden their skills and provide grist for their résumés.
- Discuss their long-term professional goals with them. Then, introduce them to appropriate leaders in their fields and, if possible, arrange training and assignments that will help them achieve their goals. For example, if one of your star producers has set his sights on the Senior Executive Service, review SES requirements with him, try to guide him to projects and training that would help him meet those qualifications and introduce him to SES members who would provide insider advice.
- Help your star employees seek professional mentoring, such as the leadership coaching available through the Treasury Department’s Federal Consulting Group, fcg.nbc.gov.
- Give them choices to attend local and out-of-town meetings, conferences and other relevant events.
- Assign them to special projects that will expose them to the front office, political appointees and other top-level staff, and — if appropriate — to the media.
- Give them first dibs on selecting projects they will work on. Also, invite them to design projects that would advance your office’s goals and give them higher levels of experience.
- Take them with you to top-level meetings and introduce them to high-level attendees.
Allow them to participate in short-term details that would give them exposure to controversial issues, political appointees and other leaders in their field. You may help arrange such details by discussing possibilities with other managers. Alternatively, consider offering them more formal detail programs, such as those offered by the Office of Management and Budget, which every year selects a group of feds for two- to three-month detail assignments that involve helping to produce the president’s annual budget.
-Ask your star producers to write articles about their work — perhaps a case study, a “how-to” or “lessons learned” — for your office’s or agency’s newsletter or intranet site.
- Encourage them to use government time to attend educational events, such as relevant lectures and brown-bag lunches that are sponsored by your agency, nonprofits and think tanks.
- Send them to prestigious management fellowship programs for feds, such as the Partnership for Public Service’s Excellence in Government Fellows Program, Harvard University’s Senior Executive Fellows Program, Brookings Institution’s Legis Congressional Fellowship or the Voyagers Program of the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council. Also consider federal leadership development programs in the Catalogue of Federal Government Leadership Development Programs (FedLDP) available online at www.opm.gov. Or search for “federal training programs” on Google.
- Review with them criteria for awards honoring outstanding feds and professionals in their fields. Then, if possible, plan assignments that would increase their eligibility for such awards, and — if they fulfill the appropriate criteria — nominate them for awards.
Organizations that might sponsor relevant awards include ones dedicated to public administration, such as the Partnership for Public Service and the American Society for Public Administration; professional organizations for government professionals, such as the National Association of Government Communicators; and professional organizations devoted to your star producer’s field.
Worried that résumé-stuffing credentials and contacts will send your star producer flying from your office? Remember: A caged bird won’t sing. The more inspiring, enlightening and dynamic your star producer’s job becomes, the more likely he will be to stay.
HUD is tied for last…..
Annual rankings of federal workplaces
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 It's something every worker can relate to: Your office isn't meeting its goals, customers aren't happy, there's turmoil at the top - and morale is plummeting.
It happens in the federal government, too, where agencies facing intense public scrutiny, shifting priorities and unstable leadership can see nose dives in worker satisfaction. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission, a critical player in this battered economy, and the Office of Management and Budget, the agency responsible for implementing President Obama's government reforms - hit the skids in the fifth "Best Places to Work" rankings, a closely watched report of federal employees.
The rankings account for the perceptions of more than 263,000 workers at 290 federal organizations. It is compiled by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan think tank devoted to promoting public sector careers, and American University's School of Public Affairs.
***The primary factor in job satisfaction, however, remains effective leadership from senior agency bosses***, the survey concluded. Over the years, senior leadership has scored low in the survey, and the Obama administration is no exception.
***The Department of Housing and Urban Development*** and National Archives and Records Administration ****tied for last among large agencies***.
The survey gave several examples of how an agency's leadership can affect results. The Federal Labor Relations Authority, stagnant during George W. Bush's administration, saw its scores more than double thanks to strong reviews for agency leadership. It earned the biggest year-to-year jump among small agencies.
Scores on the survey's 100-point scale ranged from an 81.8 for NRC to a 57.1 for HUD and the National Archives. The survey is emerging as an important management tool for agencies looking to spot trouble areas, said Partnership President Max Stier.
"Particularly in an environment like the government, where you don't have profit and loss statements and stock prices, this information becomes even more important," Stier said.
The partnership (which maintains a content-sharing arrangement with The Washington Post) compiled the rankings using data from the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Agencies not part of OPM's survey asked workers to complete similar questionnaires.
To review the full rankings please visit www.BestPlacestoWork.org.
Jimmy H commented
Let's get out of denial. Training is something they do at the end of the fiscal year, to blow off dollars. It has nothing to do with actual staff needs, and only rarely is it goals-related. The IDP, ITAP, whatever the latest name, is only a cruel joke, making a promise HUD has no intention of keeping. Let's be honest: just get rid of it.
James Taylor commented
Ditto on the ITAP. It does nothing for employees. The current system might as well be writing "We couldn't care less about your advancement, skills, or performance, we're going to spend our training dollars for stuff that makes us look good." in black magic marker on employees. No, that's too long, how about "We don't care, we don't have to!".
Catherine Z commented
This also goes for the ITAP.